Like many students, these last couple of months have been quite unordinary. From having everything fairly planned out, to being thrown into chaos in a matter of weeks. However, with the certainty of the upcoming fall semester approaching, for some students the need to find a place to live for the school year is even more chaos. But no worries, I’m here to give you a little insight.
One of the most important things to remember when looking for housing is to find a place that works for you! Every place may look nice, but will it be a good fit financially? Geographically? All are things you should consider before setting your heart on a place. The next important aspect of moving into a place is signing the lease. This can be a major step for individuals who are gaining responsibility but also a nerve-racking experience for them as well. There are a couple things you should look for in a lease. The most important is how much will be staying there will cost. Of course, it sounds self-explanatory, but the lease is a legally binding document and you wouldn’t want to agree to something financially that you know you cannot afford or give someone else the power to change on a whim. You want to have a concrete and set price that may include any other bills such as electricity, trash, water or even damages or repairs that may occur. You also should look for when the rent or agreed form of payment is due. You don’t want to have a fluctuating date just as much as to have an uncertain price. Speaking of damages and repairs, some leases state who is responsible for such things and that should also be something you look for when preparing to sign one. Also, on that important list is how long the lease is for. Leases have various ranges including month-to-month, six months, one year or sometimes longer. This should also be stated within the lease so you have a binding time frame. Other things to look for is details on parking and its availability as well as if there are pets allowed.
With the fall fastly approaching hopefully this serves as a quick guide on what to look for when looking at leases. It’s not a complete end all be all, but it should give you a good jump on what you should see. Of course, we are here to help you if you need it!
Have you checked out our off-campus housing finder at och.gmu.edu? This is a Mason-specific service that can help you find apartments and roommates! You can also schedule an appointment with us if you’d like to talk with an off-campus advisor. Happy House Hunting!